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Monday, March 22, 2010

Will He Take It?

Sen. Jim Bunning, the Kentucky Republican who single-handedly blocked a 30-day extension of the stimulus bill's provisions for enhanced unemployment benefits in February, may get a chance to reprise his spoiler role.
On Tuesday, Senate Democrats plan to ask for unanimous consent for yet another temporary extension. All it takes is one senator to object to prevent the Senate from moving forward without have to go through an onerous and time-consuming parliamentary process.
"I think there's concern that we may be in the same situation we were in before, except we don't have the floor time for fighting back against Republicans," said a Senate Democratic aide.
A bill extending enhanced unemployment benefits for the rest of the year is backed up behind health care reconciliation and a two-week break starting after this week. "Although the Senate passed the yearlong extension, they paid for the tax extenders part of that bill with offsets the House set aside for health care," said Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project. "Sen. Reid's office has been very clear that the only way they can move it is through unanimous consent."
If anyone objects to unanimous consent for the stopgap measure, there's no time to make it happen before the break -- and on April 5, the previous extension will expire, meaning that people on unemployment will receive letters or robocalls from their state workforce agencies informing them that they will be ineligible for additional "tiers" of benefits they've been counting on. LinkHere


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